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Ilkley forced to take a break
1:37pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Sport
A combination of injuries, holidays and cricket commitments have forced Ilkley to cancel their first pre-season match.
The Stacks Field club were due to visit Value of Lune on Saturday but cannot raise a team.
Head of rugby Rhys Morgan said: “It is disappointing but we have around 20 players unavailable this weekend.
“We have front row forwards like Ben Fear and Tom Baxter out injured, around six members of the squad are still playing cricket, and others are on holiday.
It means that Ilkley will have just a second team friendly at home to Old Grovians on Tuesday and the visit of Otley Saracens next Saturday to prepare for their Yorkshire Shield game at Knottingley on August 31 and the start of their Yorkshire One season a week later.
Ilkley want to do well in the Shield as it is a pathway to the National Intermediate Cup – a competition Ilkley reached the final of in 2012 at Twickenham.
“The Shield is one of our objectives for the season,” said Morgan. “Obviously at this time of the year holidays and cricket have an impact.
“I am hopeful of getting a good side out for that game because we know what success in the Shield can bring and we would love to have the chance to go back to Twickenham again.”
Morgan is pleased with the way training is going and has praised the contribution of his new player/coach Steve Graham who has joined the club from National League One side Wharfedale.
“It was good to come back from holiday and see Steve running things.
“He has brought both experience and an edge to the role and I feel we will work well together as the season unfolds.
“Obviously Steve will have to ease back a bit on his coaching some times so that he can do the training and preparation so that he can play each week.
“He is a great addition for us and having a player like him on the field will be a massive boost for us.”
Another experienced figure who is back at the club and available regularly again is Alastair Monks. He was missing for much of last season.
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